Community Engagement

It is recognised that there is a wide range of community attitudes and experiences regarding coal and coal operations in the Upper Hunter, and as such, there is likely to be a high level of interest in the exploration project.

Consultation is an important part of the project and is being undertaken in line with current government requirements, as outlined in the DRE Guidelines for Community Consultation for Exploration Projects.

The team has spent considerable time and effort talking with landholders and various other stakeholders during the exploration activities completed to date and will continue to do so as exploration progresses.  This consultation will continue to support drilling and other exploration activities as they progress. 

Community Fund

Ridgelands Coal made a commitment when it submitted its expression of interest for the area covered by EL 8064, that it would establish a $5 million local "Community Fund" to support a series of initiatives that will benefit the local community during the exploration stage of the project.  Upon granting of EL8064, the Community Fund requirement was incorporated as a condition of the EL. 

To facilitate the administration of the Ridgelands Community Fund an Investment Committee has been established and includes representatives from Ridgelands, Muswellbrook Shire Council and the local Wybong community.

In June 2018 Ridgelands has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking agreement with Resources Regulator (NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment) in which an additional $200,000 was made available to the community fund for projects providing an economic, social or environmental benefit. Details on the enforceable undertaking can be found on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.

Ridgelands Community Fund and the Investment Committee have contributed funding to 45 local projects over three rounds of allocation, to the sum of $5,203,244.28.

Nine local initiatives from Round 1 were the receipt of a combined total of $548,565.00, as outlined in Table 1.

First Round Funding



Denman-Sandy Hollow Junior Rugby League Club

Denman Recreation Ground Grandstand

"Hunter Valley Aboriginal Corporation


"NAIDOC 2018 ""Because of her, We Can"" Celebrations Sponsorship of Art awards, promotion and prizes"

"Hunter Valley Aboriginal Corporation


Sustainability Hub, Penguins Community Garden Group

Muswellbrook Men's Shed Incorporated

Recycling Facility - Fund Raising

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Ridgelands Precinct Road Safety Improvements Investigation

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Sandy Hollow Masterplan Works

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Upper Hunter Innovation Hub

"Upper Hunter Education Fund Inc.


Upper Hunter Education Fund

Wybong Public Hall Inc

Maintenance and improvement Program


TOTAL $548,565.00

As a response to the second call for Applicants in April 2018, the Community Fund and Investment Committee contributed remaining resources to fund 28 local community initiatives, outlined in Table 2.

Second Round Funding



Children's Mobile Outreach Service - UHCS - Toy Box

Replacement of Vehicles for Children's Mobile Outreach Service

Denman and District Development association Inc.

Denman News and community Technology Centre

Denman and District Heritage Village Inc.

Denman and District Heritage Village Inc.

Denman Branch of the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW Inc

Provide Onsite staff accommodation at Denman MPS

Denman Pony Club Inc.

Pony Club Canteen Complex

Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle

Muswellbrook Child and Family Wellbeing Clinic (Learners’ Health Hub in Muswellbrook Schools)

Landcare - The Hunter Region Landcare Network

Sandy Hollow Junior Landcare and Outdoor Classroom for Sandy Hollow Primary School

Muswellbrook Amateur RSL Youth Swimming Club Inc

Dolphin Swimming System

Muswellbrook Girl Guides

Glenalla Revegetation Project - Stage Two

Muswellbrook High School P&C Canteen

Canteen Kitchen upgrade

Muswellbrook Little Athletics Centre Inc.

Discus Cage

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Learn to Swim Pool

Muswellbrook Shire Council

‘Black Box Studio’ dance and flexible performance space

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Expansion of Denman Children’s Centre

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Denman Memorial Hall

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Expansion of Memorial Park (Denman)

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Tertiary Education Centre (Stage 2)

Sandy Hollow Progress Association

Sandy Hollow Hall

Sandy Hollow Progress Association

Honey Lane

Sandy Hollow Progress Association

The Sandy Hollow Community Cattle Growing Initiative

TransCare Hunter Ltd

TransCare Muswellbrook Seniors Expo

Upper Hunter Riding for Disabled Association

Completion of Upper Hunter RDA Arena

Upper Hunter Where there’s a Will Pty Ltd

Professional Certificate of Education (Positive Education)

Wybong Brigade

Wybong mobile phone/call tower project

Wybong Public Hall

Wybong Community Hall Addition and refurbishment Project

Wybong Public Hall

Wybong Rural Community workshops

Wybong Wild Dog Association

Wybong Integrated Pest Control project

Zone 7 Pony Club Inc

2018 Zone 7 Pony Club Camp


TOTAL $ 4,452,629.76


As a result of the Enforceable Undertaking and the additional $200,000 that was made available, the Community Fund and Investment Committee decided to commit the remaining resources to projects from Round 1 and Round 2 that showed merit and were unable to be fully funded in Round 1 or Round 2. Eight local community initiatives received a combined total of $202,049.52 as outlined in Table 3.

Third Round Funding



Upper Hunter Where there is a Will there is a Way

Professional Certificate of Education (Positive Education)


Denman Sandy Hollow Junior Rugby League Football

Complete the seating and handrails for the new grandstand seating at Denman’s new sporting ovals

Wybong Wild Dog Association

Additional funds for the Wybong Integrated Pest Control project

Sandy Hollow Progress Association

Construction of Public Toilet amenities in the vicinity of Honey Lane

Group 21 Junior Rugby League

Sponsorship program and purchase of equipment, apparel, etc.

Muswellbrook High School P&C Canteen

Outdoor Seating

Wybong Fire Brigade

Communications Tower (GST component for approved Feasibility Study)

Denman Branch of the United Auxiliaries of NSW Inc

Additional funds to provide air conditioning to approved staff accommodation at Denman MPS



For any general enquiries regarding the Ridgelands Community Fund and Investment Committee, please phone 1800 137 958 or email